Moody’s Investors Service last week upgraded the Manheim School District to Aa3 from A1 based on a strong fiscal position after several years of generating large operating surpluses. The upgrade affects $21.2 million of general obligation debt, all of it fixed rate.

The school district is located in Cook County outside Chicago in an area with a below-average economic profile. However, the area covers a large and mature tax base that is considered a credit strength, Moody’s said. The district maintains a low debt burden and has no interest-rate swap agreements.

The school has enjoyed operating surpluses since 2005, due to both conservative fiscal management and a permanent voter-approved 60-cent tax hike, analysts said. It has built up strong general fund reserves due to the operating surpluses.

Officials plan to draw upon some of those reserves to acquire land for a new K-12 facility.

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